9-3-2016 MOVIE REVIEW: THE LIGHT BETWEEN OCEANS (2016)
Michael Fassbender and real life girlfriend Alicia Vikander star together in the movie adaptation of M.L. Stedman’s 2012, Australian, romance-novel “The Light Between Oceans” which tells the story of a recently discharged World War I veteran named Tom (Fassbender) who’s returned home and accepted a job as lighthouse keeper on the remote post of Janus Rock. Along the way he’s introduced to his future wife Isabel (Vikander). The two wed and move to Janus together where they plan to start a family but Isabel suffers through a series of miscarriages. One day Tom discovers a boat washed ashore in front of the lighthouse with a dead boy and infant girl on it. For over three years the two raise the baby and care for it as if it were their own; adopting the child and coming to the realization that this very well may be the closest they ever get to having a family. Unfortunately for Tom when he returns to the mainland he hears stories of the heir to the owner of the Janus lighthouse, Hannah Roennfeldt (Rachel Weisz), having lost her husband and two children at sea. Tom and Isabel soon realize the child they’ve raised belongs to Hannah. Left with a moral quandary as to what they ought to do –that is keep the child versus alerting authorities –the decision they ultimately make will test the very foundations of their love for one another.
As expected with two of the great talents in the business working together the acting is phenomenal and the connection Tom and Isabel have seems so authentic and real which no doubt can be attributed to the relationship Fassbender and Vikander have with one another off-screen. The unfolding of this story seems at first glance to be borrowed from the Hebrew account of Moses and how the discovery led to dramatic problems in the families of those who made the find; however the endings couldn’t be more different. Despite at times the thick accents making parts of the dialogue hard to follow, the story unfolds so slowly that it’s easy to figure out and get emotionally wrapped up in. “The Light Between Oceans” however unnecessarily pasts the two hour mark and would have benefited from a more thorough editing.
Despite the film’s slow pace, fans of romance pictures will enjoy “The Light Between Oceans” because of the fascinating turn of events in the latter half of the film. It’s fresh, unique and seems plausibly real. I give “The Light Between Oceans” 3 out of 4 Stars.